Questions about Council Tax?

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a charge set by local authorities to help pay for certain public services such as libraries, schools and police. It is based upon the value of the property in which you live. The level of the charge may be reduced depending upon the number of adults living in the property and their circumstances.

Who has to pay Council Tax?

A person's liability to pay will normally be based upon residence in the property but sometimes it will be the responsibility of a non-resident owner.

Will I have to pay Council Tax if I am a full-time student living in University owned accommodation?

No council tax will be payable. All University owned or managed Halls of Residence are exempt from council tax. University-owned flats and houses which are provided predominantly for students are also likely to be exempt.

Will I have to pay Council Tax if I am a full-time student living in a private rented shared house with other full time students?

You will not have to pay if you apply for student exemption. To apply you will need to provide the City Council with a Council Tax Exemption Certificate from SSiD or the SSiD self-service tab on MUSE. Your landlord may also ask for a copy of this.

Will I have to pay Council Tax if I am a full-time student living in a shared house, sharing with non-students (or part-time students)?

A bill will be payable but the student tenants will not be held liable. The person or people who are not students will be liable to pay. If you arrange to live with someone who is not a full-time student, they should be warned that the bill may be high. If there is only one non-student in the property, a 25% discount may be applied for.

What is the definition of a student for Council Tax purposes?

You will count as a student if you are on a course which lasts at least one academic year; and requires attendance for at least 24 weeks per year; and involves at least 21 hours of study, classes or work experience per week during term time.

What documents do I need to prove that I am a full-time student for council tax purposes?

Each local authority will decide what evidence is required. They will usually need a Council Tax Exemption Letter. This can be printed from MUSE by going on the 'All Services' tab, or by calling into SSiD in the Students' Union building.

I have received a Council Tax bill but I think my accommodation should be exempt - what should I do?

You should contact the local authority/ council immediately and check that they have received a Council Tax Exemption Letter from you. The local authority will tell you what they need and if you have to fill out any forms.

Who do I contact if I have a query about a Council Tax bill?

You should visit the Council in person at First Point, Howden House, Union Street, Sheffield or telephone, email, fax or send a letter. If you need advice contact the Student Advice Centre in the Student's Union.

How do I get a Council Tax Exemption Letter?

Call in person at SSiD with your Ucard and this can be printed while you wait. If you are away from Sheffield and require this posting, then please apply with the On-line Council Tax Exemption Form.

Am I eligible for Council Tax exemption even though I am a PHD student in my writing up year?

PhD students in their writing up year are normally entitled to Council Tax Exemption and should collect an exemption letter from SSiD. Once you have submitted your thesis you will no longer qualify for Council Tax exemption and you should inform the Council of this change.

Am I eligible for Council Tax exemption if I need to re-submit my Thesis?

If you have to re-submit your thesis following Minor/Major Corrections, your case for exemption will be assessed on an individual basis by the Council. You will need to collect a letter from your department detailing your attendance as well as a letter from SSiD to take to the Council.

My Student registration has ended but I am staying in my accommodation until graduation – am I still exempt?

No. Council Tax is usually payable if you remain in the property between completion of your course and graduation.

Do I need to start paying Council Tax if I am on a Leave of Absence?

No. As you are still enrolled on a full-time course and intend to return following the Leave of Absence you are still entitled to Council Tax exemption. However, if your absence runs for an extended period the Council may need to re-assess your situation.

I am an international student living with my husband or wife, who is here as my dependant. Will we have to pay Council Tax?

As a full-time student, you can apply for exemption, provided that you are registered on a full-time course that is expected to last for at least one academic year.

Your spouse can also apply for exemption provided that he or she is not a British citizen and is prevented by the terms of their leave (visa) from taking paid employment or claiming benefits. You will need to show the City Council your spouse's passport as proof of their status.

Can I claim Council Tax exemption during a period of work experience/industrial placement?

Yes, in Sheffield - providing the length of your work experience/placement does not exceed your teaching time over the course. This may differ if your placement is outside of Sheffield.

My course does not follow the standard academic year, will this cause a problem with Council Tax?

No. As long as the full time course runs for a full calendar year or academic year you will still be eligible, e.g. January 2017 to January 2018.

Can I get Council Tax exemption if I am studying in Sheffield as part of an Erasmus/Study Abroad program?

You will need to provide a letter from your home University detailing your attendance there and also collect a Certificate of Student Status from SSiD. If you take both these documents to the Council they will assess your situation on a case-by-case basis.

I have to repeat some modules/retake some exams as an external student - do I still qualify for Council Tax exemption?

Yes. Providing you are still enrolled on a full-time course you should still be eligible.

Can I claim Council Tax exemption if I am studying on a part time course?

No. You need to be a full time student to qualify. However if you are under 20 years old please call in to SSiD to discuss your situation in more detail.

Can I claim Council Tax exemption if I am studying at the ELTC on a short course/multiple short courses?

It is unlikely that you will be able to claim Council Tax exemption as you are not on a continuous course. If you would like to dispute this please call in to SSiD where we can provide a record of the courses you are attending and you can take this to the Council for their assessment.

Your question not here?

Ask Sheffield

Ask Icon

There are thousands of questions and answers about hundreds of sub-jects on the University's FAQ database

Come to SSiD

Map icon

The quickest way to get an answer is visit the SSiD office in the Students' Union

Email SSiD

Email icon

If you unable to get to the SSiD office you can email us and we will do our best to reply in two working days